Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: The parade that fades

Parades are often forlorn events.  The pomp and circumstance that brings forth the loud serenade of trumpets, drums and cadence of disparate groups; the sequence of human colonnades marching to the beat of rhythmic blares where medals gleam in the glint of sunlight’s twilight; and when the speeches end and the parade that fades leaves but for the leaflets that once announced of its impending arrival, the hearts that once fluttered in anticipation of the marching band that lost its footing may but be a glimmer of tomorrow’s hope.

Parades celebrate, and the participants engage the public eye to put on a show of appreciation, but do they voluntarily come together, or are they merely compensated workers ordered to appear?  And when once the parade fades, what happens to those left behind, of the grieving widows and children left orphaned, and the pinning of medals that sang the mournful hollow of a priceless life?

Other lives march on; it is the forgotten ones that inhabit an earth that continues on in haunting groups of voiceless sorrow, for years on end without the recognition noted but for that singular day on the parade grounds, where glory once revived and then soon forgotten.  Much of life is like that, isn’t it?

Like a parade that is put on, lasts for a day, or perhaps merely a part thereof, and then soon to be forgotten except for memories that are seared with a grimace and graceless utterances of voices once remembered and now merely a fading vestige, if that.  What was the fanfare for?  Do we even remember? What was said in the speech now faded but for glory’s once grand applause?  Do we even care?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker’s attempt to continue his or her career because the progressively worsening medical condition itself is preventing one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — the end of one’s career may be likened to the parade that fades.

That sense of belonging; that feeling that life’s cadence included you in the marching band of the colorful parade; of being part of a team, with a sense of coherence and purpose; but like all parades, the day’s end ultimately comes.  Whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the sinking feeling that the parade that fades may mean that there is no longer the trumpet’s blare or the drumbeat of life’s cadence is simply a fear within that does not reflect reality.

Tomorrow, the sun will still shine and the birds will yet sing; the grounds will still be there, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is merely changing the venue of where the next parade will be held, thus replacing the parade that fades at the end of this day alone.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The vacation that wasn’t

When is a vacation no longer one?  Is it when we take work with us, sit upon the sands of timeless recreation — but with a laptop or a pile of papers that are kept weighted down by a crumpled towel and children asking or demanding for immediacy of attention becoming distant noises of irritation and not the gaiety of sharing?

Or, is the intrusion upon our insular universe — you know, the mind’s eye behind the blank stare; the constant rumination of what we expect and anticipate upon our return; the angst over the backup of emails that will await us upon our return; the fear and knowledge that some devious action has been planned for by our boss or coworkers, or perhaps both in conjunction within a conspiratorial scheme no longer veiled with declared foreknowledge and barely hidden beneath the seething tides of backstabbing dominions?

Even that 3-day weekend, or the weekly routine of the 2-day weekend; they are no longer refreshments from the toil and rumination of worry and anxiety, panic-stricken with sleepless nights and dreams that once gave a fading smile but now urging you to wake up in the middle of the night drenched in pools of sweat for nightmares that won’t leave you alone.

The vacation that wasn’t — isn’t — is the one that no longer refreshes and cannot be looked forward to because the anticipation of what will be left behind becomes too overwhelming to bear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has begun to prevent the performance of one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, when the vacation that cannot be taken is the one that cannot be enjoyed becomes a constancy of regressive acts of futility, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Where weekends merely become a refuge to recuperate for the following Monday, but where such rest and attempted refreshment is merely likened to the proverbial struggle of rearranging the chairs upon a sinking ship, then consideration must be given to the quality of one’s life, as opposed to the quantity of life’s misgivings.

The vacation that wasn’t — it is the one that no longer refreshes because one’s medical condition has exceeded any benefits derived from trying to do more than what the body will any longer allow for, and that is the time to then consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, so that you may focus upon the priorities of life: One’s health and future well-being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

How much OPM Disability Retirement Pays?

“What will the benefit pay?”  That is often the primary concern of a Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and it is certainly a valid first question.

The greater concern that cannot be overlooked, however, is the one that involves calculating the cost of NOT filing.  In the end, those Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have three fundamental options: Stay put; resign and do nothing (or wait for termination/separation proceedings to occur, which amounts to the same thing); or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

The benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is quite simply calculated as 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of service for the first year (offset by 100% of any Social Security Disability benefits received during the concurrent payments received) and 40% of the average every year thereafter (offset by 60% of any Social Security Disability payments received during those years), until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity is recalculated as “regular retirement” based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that the disability retiree has been on Federal Disability Retirement.

Thus, the “greater” benefit in calculating the cost has to take into account the fact that one is actually “building up” one’s own retirement by the years one stays on disability retirement — for, those very years that you are receiving a disability retirement annuity count towards the total number of years of Federal Service when it is recalculated as “regular” retirement at the age of 62.

Yes, it is true that on the cost/benefit ledger that one should review before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, you need to take into account the lesser income and the lengthy bureaucratic process that must be engaged, but you should also never forget what the originating basis for considering such filing compelled the consideration in the first place: Your health.

Calculating the cost of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits too often places the emphasis on what is lost — in terms of monetary gain and loss, etc.  But in calculating the cost of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered to and by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the primary issue involves one’s deteriorating health and whether you can continue to remain in a job which has clearly become inconsistent with the medical conditions one is suffering from.

In the end, calculating the cost must go beyond the lessening of income; it must calculate the cost of one’s health, which is the single greatest asset one possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Game changers

Rarely do we have advantages in life.  Instead, most challenges are full of obstacles in our way, advantages tipped in favor of another’s, and an imbalance that seems to make life’s lottery of spectral choices a weighted unfairness that no amount of complaining seems to make a difference about.  We hear about them; yet, they rarely attend to our own needs nor join “our team”.

Game changers are those influences or components that suddenly make winning more favorable.  They normally become a part of the “other” team, but every now and again, life may throw a ray of sunshine down our path, and game changers become an element of one’s own “team”.  Perhaps it is a secret piece of knowledge no one else is privy to; or a piece of information that others have not yet been provided access to; or a person with exceptional talent who has given indications of sympathy to a particular cause; or even a new methodological approach that has not yet been widely disseminated.

Whatever the element of advantage, game changers open up circumstances that favor the success of one side over another, and appear at an optimum time when others have yet to prepare for the surprise addition.  At least, that is what they appear to do in novels, movies, plays and fictional life.  In real life, there are rarely such advantageous elements that make a difference.  Instead, most of life is a steady monotony of hard work, less complaining and a representation of the tortoise-like ethic as opposed to the hare that dashes off and runs ahead of everyone else.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the concept of a “game changer” should be a familiar one.  For, when the medical condition first began to impact one’s health, that– in and of itself — was a game-changer: against you.  And when your work began to suffer because of the medical condition — that, too — was a game-changer: against you.  And when you needed to take excessive Sick Leave and Annual Leave, then LWOP, that was again a game-changer – again and too familiarly, against you.

It is perhaps time to begin preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; that, too, may be a “game changer”; but this time, in your favor, so that you can perhaps begin to focus upon the changing games that need a true game changer – your own health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Habit

No, this is not about that peculiar creature that Tolkien created who used to rule the earth but now hides in little dirt hutches in the deep recesses of forests (don’t all children and adults who have read his works believe in their heart of hearts that Hobbits still exist, and we just don’t see them?); rather, this, too, is a creature of sorts, just not the imaginary creation that gave joy to so many.

How is it that we come to learn it?  Is there a numerical value that must be first ascribed before the regularity of X becomes a Habit-Y?  What constitutes a definition of the repetition, and how is it learned, as opposed to unlearning certain types of constancies?  Is there a numerical value that further transforms a habit into an obsession, and where is the dividing line and what demarcates the distinction we thus impose?

If a dog, each morning upon the awakening by an alarm clock set by his master, rolls onto his back and waits until he gets a nice tummy-rub, and never deters or detours from such a habit, can he, too, unlearn it?  Is a habit, moreover, merely a settled tendency, such that the rest of those around may expect it to occur, but when it does not, is not necessarily a surprise or a disappointment, but a mere reliance that “normally” occurs but is not mandated by a turn to another direction?  When the expectation does not come to fruition, do we simply say, “Well, normally it is his habit, but perhaps he changed his mind”?

Kant, for instance, was known to take his walk at a specific time, and it was said of him that the townspeople set their watches against his daily routine and habit.  Does not that sound more like an obsession?  Is the difference one where there is greater ease to “break” the regularity, whereas an obsession is where such a tendency cannot, and is no longer a “voluntary” act?

Additionally, is there a difference with a distinction between a “habit”, a “ritual” and an “obsession”?  Or, is there no clear line of bifurcation (or is it “trifurcation”?), but the lines can cross over easily – as in, when we engage in a habit, sometimes there are rituals that are performed – washing one’s hands in the same way as always; combing one’s hair a set number of strokes; skipping over a particular crack in the sidewalk on the way home; and are rituals merely of greater intensity with obsession than with a habit?

And what of necessities that arise?  Such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for Federal and Postal employees – do people not file because their “habits” are entrenched in a belief-system that one must just “buck up” and ignore the warning signs of a medical condition that continues to deteriorate and progressively debilitate?  When do habits stand in the way of doing that which is “reasonable” under the circumstances?

Here is a thought: For Federal and Postal employees suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, let not habit become an obsession, and instead, allow for the rituals of life to free you from the habitual obsession of ritualistic redundancy, and instead, begin preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Suffering

It is something that cannot be avoided; it is part of life, of living, of engaging.  The history of it existence is palpable; the tactile images throughout can be experienced in images painted and words described; and the various religions embrace it – some as a foundation that allows for forgiveness to alleviate that felt by others; many, as a foundation to explain it away; and still others, to train a disciplined life in order to avoid it, or at least to contain it.

Whether by meditation or medication; through enduring or embracing; or perhaps even by enjoying some form of it in a masochistic manner; it is there because the body, mind and soul are sensitized in the evolutionary process of advancement to remain heightened for survival’s sake.

Suffering is part of living; without it, we imagine that life would be a constant cauldron of endless merriment, when in fact its absence would spell the very definition of misery and decay.

Throughout history, sickness, death and suffering encapsulated an apt description of life, whether human or otherwise.  Thus did Thomas Hobbes admonish the world in his seminal work, Leviathan, where the famous passage describes the natural state all human beings find themselves in until the rescue by political community or social contract, that the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

But whether by social contract elevating the aggregation of humans into defensive communities envisioning civilization and cultivation beyond the penury of life’s misgivings, or some utopian belief that can result in avoidance of that which is inherent to us all, the fact is that suffering can at best be contained and limited, but never extinguished or eradicated.  Life famine, viruses, cats, weeds, moles, droughts and diseases – we can inoculate against and quarantine as best we can, but they keep coming back and rearing their heads up even after exhausting their nine lives and filling in the holes they have dug.

Suffering is, in the end, that which is there for a purpose – of allowing for feelings; of contrasting the opposite of ecstasy and joy, without which there would be no comprehension nor appreciation, as “being” cannot be understood without its flip-side, “nothingness”.  Thus, the question must always come down to:  Not “whether” it must be, but to what “extent” it needs be.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it may well be that you have reached a pinnacle point of suffering such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Every Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must make the “right” decision for him or her self, as to the timing, the substantive event and the future securitization for livelihood’s sake.  It is, in the end, suffering itself and the medical condition that overwhelms, that often determines such a course of action, and that is a very personal decision that each individual must decide in the most appropriate of circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire